A personal uniform; how to choose your colours (Series; Part 2)

In the previous blog the next step from a capsule wardrobe we started to think about a personal uniform, and how I think that this is a good solution to my lack of ‘togetherness’ in my capsule wardrobe. Even though I now have less than 40 items to wear (including shoes, but not bags, underwear or sleepwear), I am not getting the mix and match or pulled together style I was hoping for. That was because I had a real mish mash of styles, shapes and colours.

So after some research I have decided a personal uniform is the approach I want to use. I’m even hoping I can drop the number of items I need down to perhaps 30 or even 20 if I get the balance right.

I think it’s a bit of a minefield trying to develop a personal uniform. It’s essentially a style or styles that you love, prefer, and will wear again and again. So I had to start thinking what is mine? What do I love to wear? What makes me feel good?  The first clues are going into my wardrobe. As I mentioning in my previous blog Why a capsule isn’t working for me I have a LOT of blue in my wardrobe. My favourite neutral is navy, and I love a bit of denim, chambray or sky blue. So I know that needs to be in my colours. I tend to like strong colours and strong neutrals. I am not a fan of wishy washy colours, pastels and ‘baby’ anything. It’s just not me. So I already feel like I’ve got a strong start.

I’ve decided what I’d like to do is have a core colour palette year round of four to five colours, including neutrals that I can mix and match and then add a couple of accent colours for spring/summer and autumn/winter that will ‘seasonalise’ my wardrobe and give it a bit of a freshen up.

So here’s some tips for helping you to start finding your own colours

  1. Go and look in your wardrobe. Take everything out and lay it in piles
  2. Split the piles out into the following colours; dark neutrals (e.g. black, charcoal, navy, brown) and light neutrals (cream, white, silver, beige), cool colours (blue, pink, purple, green) , and warm colours (red, yellow, orange).
  3. Hopefully you will begin to see a pattern. Either you’ll have all neutrals, all colours, or you will have chosen more cool colours, or warm colours.
  4. Next ask yourself how you feel when you put those colours on? Try on each piece and don’t worry about print, style or fit at this point, just the colour.
  5.  As a rule of thumb pink toned skins (like me) look better in cool colours, particularly against the skin, and yellow toned skins look better in warmer colours. Do the colours make you feel happy? Sad? Strong? Confident? Shy? We’re looking for your connection to these colours. Colours you love, keep in the pile, colours that you don’t feel good about, or when you try them on don’t seem to be ‘you’ ,  put in a recycling pile.
  6. When you have been through everything look at what you have left. In my case, lots of different blues, a few blacks,  some red, a bit of green and some multi coloured prints.
  7. Next you need to pull your palette of colours together. This website is great. Colourlovers.com lets you look at other palettes people have put together, or create your own, right down to very individual shades. Sign up and you can save these for future reference. You can search by themes for colours as well. I noticed that in my colours, blue, red, and white were pretty nautical and so I tried searching for palettes that featured similar colours. Then you should have somewhere between 4 to 5 colours that will be your uniform colours.

Here’s some of my inspiration for the palette I created…


In the end I have created my own palette which I have even named ‘my personal uniform’ (you can see how much I am getting into this!) I think the yellow really lifts the colours, but I am more likely to use it as an accent colour for accessories, or as a pop of colour as yellow does not sit well on my skin 😦

personal uniform colour palette

8. Now I have my colours, my next task is to root out those that don’t fit into my palette, and decide what to do with them.

In my next blog on personal uniform I am looking at patterns and prints and how to decide what prints and patterns to put into my personal uniform.

Let me know what colours you have in your personal uniform, or what you have decided to try? Don’t forget a personal uniform is not forever if you’re not into minimalism. You might have a different colour palette each season, or mix and match colour palettes ever few months depending on how you feel. Good luck!



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